April 2023 Project Updates


(L) The final meeting with Visit Knoxville || (R) Vestal Villas Board Members review ETCDC work

As the weather warms up here in Knoxville, the project work at the Design Center is warming up even more. With a large range of projects occurring simultaneously, we wanted to update everyone on the status of them; some projects are wrapping up, some are just beginning, and others are deep in the design process! Below is a list of where our current projects stand.
  • Vestal Villas, seen in the above-right photo, will convert a former church education building in South Knoxville into housing for young adults recently aged-out of foster care; the project recently wrapped up and is now in the hands of their Board. Our volunteers for this project were Josh Shaffer, AIA, Suzanne Tarovella, AIA, and Thomas Noggle.

  • Our work with Visit Knoxville to renovate and re-imagine parts of the Sunsphere also finished in the last few weeks. An image of the final meeting, which includes volunteer Emanuel Huber-Feely, AIA, and Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas, can be seen in the upper-left photo. Also assisting with this project were Randy Merritt and Nathan Honeycutt, AIA.

  • We concluded an in-house redesign of the City of Knoxville's Facade Improvement Program Design Guide, which is now live on their site. It was the first redesign of the Guide since 2006!
  • The historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge hosted Design Studio Coordinator Dustin Durham and volunteer Ric Mixon, AIA, for a site visit to look at ways to improve their facade and potentially reorganize some interior spaces.

  • ETCDC Staff also toured the Sertoma Center (seen below) - a local nonprofit assisting adults with intellectual disabilities - to help them start the process of envisioning a new interior layout for their existing building. The volunteer for this project is Markus Chady, AIA, who also assisted us with the Sertoma Center in 2018 when they approached the ETCDC for assistance with a facade update.
  • The Burlington Lighthouse will see the conversion of the old sanctuary and educational building of the Greater Warner Tabernacle in Burlington into a mixed-use community center. A building walk-through was recently completed and a structural assessment of the space is ongoing. The project volunteer is Gregor Smee, AIA. An image of the building can be seen in the lower-left.

  • Family Promise of Knoxville assists families on the verge of homelessness by providing them shelter and resources. They have asked us to help them redesign the interior of their existing offices - a former church building on Middlebrook Pike - as well as to create on-site housing for clients. Our volunteer is Adam Buchanan, AIA, and he has created several various design options for Family Promise to review. A photo of our site visit can be seen in the lower-right.
  • Faith N’ Friends is a horse rescue and sanctuary in Knox County that provides a safe shelter for unwanted horses, as well as offering a program that uses horses as therapy animals. Our first project meeting will be next week. Our volunteer is Suzanne Holbrook.

  • The Fountain City Ballfields are a set of public baseball fields in Fountain City. We were approached by the Fountain City Recreation Commission to help redesign the park and look at possible locations for expansion. Our volunteers, Allison Montgomery, AIA, and Aaron Miller, AIA, are in the early stages of design currently. 
  • Heritage Park in Union County will include an expansion of the existing farmer's market and a wall dedicated to famous musicians from the county. It is in the final days of design and the last meeting will be at the end of the month. Afterward, we expect to share the designs and project details on our projects page. Randy Merritt and Oren Yarbrough, AIA, served as the volunteers on the project

    Lastly, we have a few other projects just beginning or about to begin, including a redesign for the interiors of the Good Shepherd Center, a mixed-use building design for SEEED, an urban garden and building design for SHORA, and work on two parks - one in Maryville with Foothills Conservancy and one in Gatlinburg with the Gatlinburg Heritage Foundation. As these projects start we will provide updates on them as well.

    It's looking like a busy 2023 for the ETCDC!